Name: Jennifer Henderson aka Wonderful Woman
Current Residence: Henderson, Nevada
Birth Place: Sacramento, California
Ben & Jerry's Flavour: New York Super Fudge Chunk and Phish Food (tie)
Music: Akon; Mary J. Blige; and Alicia Keys
Book/Movie: Trouble the Waters/Jerry McGuire
Quote: "Believe only half of what you think"
NPO or Social/Environmental Cause: I am committed to working to advance equity and justice for people who have been marginalized socially and economically. For over four decades, I have worked in partnership and solidarity with residents of urban and rural communities in the US and other parts of the world to organize and advocate for living wages, affordable housing, accessible health care, quality education and food security. Over the past five years, my organizing and advocacy work has been most focused on the redevelopment of a number of neighborhoods in New Orleans. Together with others, the resilience of the people of New Orleans has been encouraged and supported by generosity of millions of people from around the world. Much of my work has been to design and unite efforts of physical and economic development to create more livable neighborhoods in a city still in the process of re-envisioning itself. Lastly, since childhood, I have maintained a belief in and passion for the power of peace. I continue to work with organizations that challenge the use of war and violence to achieve self-serving, unsustainable economic and political goals.
BEN & JERRY'S BIO
A little background...
I met Ben, Jerry and Jeff at the beginning of the One Percent for Peace Campaign. I had been working for years with Jobs for Peace to achieve a 25% transfer of military dollars to much-needed domestic spending on education, jobs, health and housing. The two efforts were naturally aligned. Soon after working as a volunteer on the One Percent for Peace Campaign, I was asked to help think through the organization of the Ben & Jerry's Foundation. With advice from myself and other activists and organizers from around the country, the Foundation established the employees as the decision-makers for grant making. After several years of working with the company on a number of projects, I was thrilled to be nominated and voted onto the Ben & Jerry's Board of Directors.
How long have I been on the BOD: Since 1996
Why am I passionate about Ben & Jerry's?:
By being a part of Ben & Jerry's, I have the responsibility and privilege of working for equity and justice within both a business and community context. It is an amazing experience to work alongside others who, like me, believe that Ben & Jerry's is an expression of how the world can be. Ben & Jerry's embraces the notion of abundance where it is possible for the actions, decisions, and positions that we each take can compliment and support each other --- linked destiny. The centerpiece of this world view is love and compassion. Commitment to these ideals has changed the entire notion of responsible business. I love the way that way the company brings creativity, energy and insight to address business and community issues. The company's "Leading with Progressive Values" is a rallying call for business to operate in a way that is simultaneously ethical, sustainable and profitable. I believe that we as a planet are at a moment where these ideals are essential to our survival and more achievable than ever before. I am deeply confident that in the decades to come, Ben & Jerry's will continue to challenge, re-invent and itself and contribute to a just and caring world.
What is my role/purpose on the BOD:
Jeff, Pierre and I served on the BOD before the acquisition by Unilever. We have the informal responsibility for sharing the genesis, background and history of the company with new board members and Unilever. This knowledge has been very important in setting the context for decisions the company makes today. I also work with the board in the areas of the Social Audit, Board Development, and CEO Compensation. These committees are responsible for insuring that the terms laid out in the Sales Agreement are maintained.
What unique capabilities do I bring to Ben & Jerry's and the BOD?:
I have more than 40 years of experience in the fields of community economic development, urban and rural public policy advocacy, organizational development and social enterprises. These skills have been called upon as the company has 1) developed ways to partner with nonprofit organizations; 2) considered the community-wide implications of major decisions like closing a plant; 3) reviewed marketing campaigns that relayed a strong position on issues like Fair Trade; and 4) requested support and encouragement to the CEO and senior staff in their visioning and planning.
I have worked with stakeholders, including businesses, to create shared wealth and prosperity both inside businesses and within the larger community. This includes specific skills in strategic planning; organizational development; leadership development; team building; social, political and economic justice advocacy; and collaboration.
Like my fellow BOD members, I bring to Ben & Jerry's a wide network of relationships and contacts that have proven useful to the company. Currently, the work of my firm on food access, food security and food deserts might provide a lens to examine Ben & Jerry's role in the current debate regarding childhood obesity and other food-related maladies. As the BOD has become more visible to the employees and other company stakeholders, each of the BOD members has become even more intentional in sharing their specific expertise with the company, where appropriate and applicable.